First Nikon D4s Vs. D4 High ISO Image Comparison

First Nikon D4s Vs. D4 High ISO Image Comparison

It hasn't even been a day since the Nikon D4s was released and we're already seeing pixel-peeping side-by-side comparisons of it and the D4. First reported on Nikon Rumors, the site ClubSNAP posted a comparison of files from the D4 and its successor at extremely high ISO. Judging by these high ISO images we can expect some really awesome low-light performance out of Nikon's new flagship model.

Even at ISO 25,600 the D4s is producing usable files with a noticeable improvement over the D4 and at 51,200 the improvement is even more pronounced. While I wouldn't recommend keeping yours set there all the time, it's certainly nice to have the option.





The test goes all the way up to an astonishing ISO 409,600. While the image looks quite a bit like a Georges Seurat painting, at this sensitivity the D4s can practically shoot in the dark.


What does this increased ISO performance mean for Nikon and your photography? Tell us in the comments below.

[Via Nikon Rumors]

Log in or register to post comments
Greg O'Hanlon's picture

Those ISO levels are more for marketing purposes then anything remotely usable. I would prefer if they held off on releasing cameras with ultra high ISO capability until the technology actually got to a halfway decent IQ.

Lutzman's picture


Michael Kormos's picture

I photograph a lot of natural light portraits for NYC families and using speedlights is often impractical. I often times shoot in ISO 3200 range, so low noise is of utmost importance. I'm sure a lot of nighttime/indoor sports shooters feel the same.

David Vaughn's picture

That may be, but ISO 3200 is still within the ISO standard. The H1-4 ISOs are basically gained by some processor trickery, since, to my knowledge, there is no standardization of ISOs higher than 6400 (maybe 3200? I can't remember).

They're not "real" ISOs that the sensor is capable of.

Hank's picture

yes David, my understanding is the same

John Lam's picture

I shot landscape and I have quite a lot of landscape photograph is barely possible because of the High ISO ability in the D4 camera

Graham Marley's picture

I saw the larger original post, and the benefits of the NR (which is what this is, these are jpegs with NR) were really only apparent after ISO 12800. Everything before that, the D4 had more detail. I'd want to see raw files before any of this meant anything other than legitimately nice NR past the point of preposterous ISO levels.

Lorenzo Invernici's picture

Yes, i've noticed that too. At 3200 iso for example the D4 seems to perform way better in term of details, than the "s" version. Maybe they're using different settings of noise reduction, maybe the "s" pictures are slightly out of focus, but the D4 really looks better before 12800.

Lutzman's picture

yes noticed that too.

Timothy Jace's picture

Useful for the next Superman movie...

Albert Lim's picture

Links to RAW file download added for 3 pictures!

You will need to have Photoshop CC and Adobe Camera Raw v8.4 Release
Candidate installed on your computer to open the D4s RAW files.

Bert Nase's picture

Forget about CR for Nikon NEF. You better use the new Nikon NX-D. The beta version is free!

Albert Lim's picture

I already tried NX-D. It does not allow conversion of D4s files. All you get is a preview of the embedded JPEG with no option to change or export anything.

Bert Nase's picture

Oh well, sorry I thought they have it already build in (unbelievable that D4s isn't supported!) but I don't have a D4s to check. But D4 NEFs look incredible with NX-D (like NX 2).

Albert Lim's picture

Well, I wouldn't know because it is not supported in NX-D. Plus I am a Lightroom user. Anyway the RAW conversions are out now. One of the pictures contributed is processed with NX2. You can see here:

Matei Horvath's picture

Yeah Nikon would do themselves a favor if they released official samples shot at these high iso settings, before images from blog sites form elsewhere pop up with unflattering images shot by the new D4s. I saw those samples too, but all shots taken by clubSnap with the D4s seemed 'off' as in slightly out of focus. I am not sure if it was the technique of the photographer, if the camera/lens needed micro-adjustment or what not but why let others paint an ugly picture of a camera just because you didn't have all your bases covered and released proper samples to shut everyone off?!

Karl-Filip Karlsson's picture

they can not do the reverse. And do ISO 20, ISO 10 for even more detail to the images. Would you like a portrait photographer go to ISO 400 000 .. hmm noot!

Derek Wong's picture

ISO actually works both ways. The lower you go the higher the noise goes. Sensors actually have curves where iso 100 is usually highest or in some other camera with base iso 200 the noise performance usually peaks around that base iso. And deteriorates on either side. + or -

Matt Wade's picture

I shoot at ISO 200 as a standard because it guarantees quality instead of wondering if I'm losing something at ISO 100.

EnticingHavoc's picture

The D4s delivers distinctively better images but I doubt that except for paparazzis and private eyes anyone would need to shoot at ISO 50k more than once a year if at all.

Lutzman's picture

no it does not.
as others mentioned already the orignal D4 has better details at low ISO.

Bert Nase's picture

ISO is not everything. To reduce it just to ISO isn't right (though cleaner images at ISO 3200 would not be that bad).

Lutzman's picture

lol... unusable crap.. maybe useable for newspaper print..... or your facebook crap.
all the high ISO stuff is for the feature list.
this is a PRO camera and what client, except editorial/journalism, will accept such bad quality??

and im right that this "better" iso performance is JPG only?

well i shoot raw and everyone concerned about quality will do the same i guess.
jpg image quality ... who really cares?
that is just better noise reduction.... can have that in PS.

Albert Lim's picture

Nope. The RAW files are superior. The results from RAW conversion is very impressive. Check it out here

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

Why don't you tell me what's better...having no shot whatsoever, or at least having a shot even though it's low quality? This is a rhetorical question of course.

This feature does not take anything else away from the camera, so you complaining about it just shows the pure folly in your comment. To get ISO 400k, they're not taking away another feature. This is a feature on top of everything else in the camera. If you don't want to use it, well, you always have to option of not using it!

Bartosch Salmanski's picture

Ok, and how does it concour in the low iso range ?

Albert Lim's picture

RAW file conversion results posted in the same thread in ClubSNAP.
You can check it out here:

Guest's picture

I love your product, but I am a photographer, i'm not a videographer, as a result of this could you manufacture a DSLR Nikon DS4 that does not have 1080 video capability as I don't want it, don't need it and won't be paying £5,100 for the pleasure.

Nikon why dont you just make 2 versions of the same camera

Nikon D4S without video

Nikon D4SV with video

John_Skinner's picture

Because in large part, these bodies are made for the media. They DO have to shoot various kinds of images and movies now like never before. I see the need for the addition of the video... But make no mistake, I'm so on your side about adding....AND making such a flap over these types of capabilities in a PRO body..

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

I've got news for you. Even though you can consider this a "professional" body, the fact remains that the majority of these that are sold are not sold to professionals, but rather amateurs and enthusiasts. That margin will continue to get even bigger as photography becomes a hobby for more and more people. So yes, making a big deal of stuff like this IS important.

But maybe you're right, you know, one person's logic is clearer better than a whole international corporation's.

John's picture

I love your product, but I am a photographer, i'm not a videographer, as a result of this could you manufacture a DSLR Nikon D4S that does not have 1080 video capability as I don't want it, don't need it and won't be paying £5,100 for the pleasure.

Nikon why dont you just make 2 versions of the same camera

Nikon D4S without video

Nikon D4SV with video

Jackson Henney's picture

If they did that they'd be flamed for having different versions. Besides, who wants a camera with a name that would ultimately turn into Nikon D4SVHD4K60P Just because it has added video features.

Phil Bautista's picture

Buy the Nikon Df.

Spawn666949's picture

Definitely cleaner.

5LeggedInsect's picture

I'm not a Nikon shooter, nor a sports photographer, so I guess that makes me a troll :)

But I don't understand why Nikon focuses on "shoot in the dark" cameras with the size and weight of a studio camera. I personally like my outside cameras light and nimble. How about putting the same old ISO performance in a smaller package, rather than bumping the ISO to absurd levels in an (IMO) oversized camera? (no offense to my colleagues who need this performance, regardless of size/weight)

To the folks who expect to see more detail below base ISO: just keep snap shooting with your mobile phone. Your effort is best spent elsewhere than commenting on blogs about pro cameras, when you don't even understand the rudimentary basics.

Tim Krueger's picture

So size does matter?

...'s picture

Download and play with the RAW files:

Very impressive.

James Rainone's picture

The 1DX, in my opinion, still trumps over the D4s. The higher ISO is nice, but really is just marketing. 402,000 is completely unusable, except for the "facebook crap" or "newspaper print" that Lutzman mentioned. The D4s is really an improvement to the D4, but I still don't think t can beat the 1DX, maybe get really close, but not surpass it. I guess we'll see in future tests and comparisons...

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

Try other things, important things, such as surveillance. Think again about your retarded comment that this is only good for facebook and newspaper. This has real world value pal, way past what you can conceive. The world of photography is far more vast than you seem to realize.

Darren L Gill's picture

Hmm, this seems like a pretty impressive update, but certainly appears to be only useful for a small cross section of users. Perhaps indoor sports and other photojournalistic type of shooters would be the target audience for these bodies. Doesn't seem practical for most pros in my opinion. I would have preferred they added 4k video, that would serve more users who shoot photos and video, then these occasional situations when such a high iso would be needed.

jrconner's picture

ISO 400k means being able to shoot handheld by moonlight. It will have applications in photojournalism and surveillance photography.

Jake Heller's picture


Jake Heller's picture

I can't shoot above iso 1,000 on my d7000 and i get by, i would love to shoot at iso 6400

Jonathan Vander Veen's picture

For some reason, people are getting caught up in the fact that H1-H4 are ISO "levels" far in excess of anything anyone (other than a private investigator) will ever use. What most people are overlooking, however, is the fact that these improvements in technology bring real-world gains for the "ordinary" photographer as well.

When I bought my D800, I didn't get caught up in the fact that I wouldn't likely ever shoot at ISO 25,600. What I loved was the lower-ISO improvement those technological advances brought. Yes, I can shoot at stupid high ISO levels, but shooting at ISO 1600 is pretty darn clean compared to my previous camera.

The D4s has a better sensor. That means that it can shoot at insane ISO ratings. But for most of us, it means it's capable of shooting cleaner images at ISO 3200, 6400, etc.

And that's never a bad thing.